At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life
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At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A remarkable and unparalleled portrait of the Marquis de Sade and the two women who endured his peculiar genius

Much has been written about the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), the flamboyant aristocrat whose years indulging in sexual aberrations inspired his celebrated works 120 Days of Sodom and Justine--and landed him in the Bastille. However, scant attention has been paid t...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Nicholas Karpuk
Mar 11, 2009 Nicholas Karpuk rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Sadists (duh), History Fans, Libertines
The first thing I thought when I finished reading about the Marquis De Sade was, "He kinda reminds me of my father." That can't be a healthy response, can it?

It's mostly because Sade came from a background of wealth and privilege and spent his life wasting all his good connections, burning up his money on indulgences, and generally being a caustic difficulty to everyone around him. The main reason this worked was his charm. The man could apparently talk his way in and out of many things.

Except f...more
Alexander Santiago
I've always held something of an eye-brow raising fascination of the entity that is the Marquise de Sade (for whom the term "sadism" is said to be derived), the original bad boy of the literary world: a spoiled, entitled, debauched aristocrat, an over the top epitome of 18th century France, whose writings, predilections and peccadilloes (which ran to the extreme spectrum of sexuality) landed him in prison on a number of occasions. This historical book focuses on the women in de Sade's - his moth...more
Jimmy
Sinners could pay for absolution in the Catholic church. The money made by this practice was enormous. The question becomes: Who was the real sinner, the Church or the adulterer?

As de Sade said in Justine: "Is there one religion not marked by imposture and stupidity? What do I see in all of them? Mysteries that insult reason, dogmas that go against the laws of nature, grotesque ceremonies that only inspire derision and disgust. But if one of them particularly merits our scorn and our hatred . ....more
MAP
This book did a very good job of turning someone whose name has become more symbolic than anything back into a human being. Gray does a good job of separating de Sade's actual behaviors from his writings -- his sexual encounters were in fact not terribly different from many other aristocrats of the day (for the most part, and that's not to say that most aristocrats' behavior wasn't reprehensible or kinky); he left his kinkiest ideas to his fiction. She also separated his philosophical and politi...more
Julie Barrett
I bought this book from the dollar shelf at the used bookstore as a way to cleanse my palate after reading about a dozen rock memoirs. Rock memoirs are fun to read but are not particularly well written and not very academic or scholarly. Also I'm a sucker for any book that has the blurb " A Pulitzer Prize Finalist". I didn't see that on the cover of David Lee Roth's memoir.

Before this book I knew very little about Sade. Obviously that the word sadism comes from his name. I attempted to read his...more
Sommer
After reading the Marquis de Sade and seeing Quills, I had to learn more about the Marquis himself. This is where this book comes in. It is an interesting look at the dysfunctional triad of mother, daughter and son in law. Interlaced within the history of the Marquis's life is a look into many of the scandals that created the essence of who we all love and hate. Never dull and full of liberties on the part of the author to piece together the life of the Marquis, a must read for those needing a l...more
Jerrod
This biography is wonderfully written. The author tells De Sade's story without bias, keeping it lively and interesting (not a difficult task given the subject). It seems very thorough. The reader can leave this book feeling as though they've lived his life, as opposed to many other biographies that read like textbooks. Whether or not the readers would want that is up to them. As to be expected, it gets explicit in parts, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that offends easily.

Gabrielle
Sep 16, 2008 Gabrielle rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who want to know where 'Sade-ism' came from.
The true story behind the infamous Marquis de Sade. Caution you glam-BDSM types - this isn't the pretty and perfect little world of shiny patent leather and lipstick lesbian mistresses! This is a great psychological examination of the man and the facts about his existence that could be confirmed.
Philippa
A good read - well written and engaging - but not for the weak of stomach. I agree with an earlier reviewer who pointed out that this is no glamorous or trendy view of sadism; our modern definition of the idea is pretty cuddly and fuzzy compared to Sade's actual psyche and life.
Evan
3-4 stars. Expertly written but only intermittently interesting. It's greatest fault is that it's too extensive. Should have been half as long. How much is there really to say about Sade? The whole book can be summed up in a thought: he was unstable.
Bethnyc1
I read this book a few years ago but recommend it. I didn't know too much about the Marquis de Sade before reading the book but have a better understanding of him now. What a pervert!
Kristen Benzo
This was a very interesting book. The man was horrible, but so was most of his life. I'm not sure I have any friends who could stomach reading this book, so I'm not going to recommend it.
Carla
Almost Finished! Not a particularly biased view of De Sade. Well written and supported. The excerpts of his own letters are worth it, alone.
Dylan
I'm getting closer to having all the published works by people with whom I share a birthday. I'm looking in your direction, B. Real.
Jessica T.
holy crow!!! this biography is great.. sometimes a bit dry but Sade's story (and the women in his life) is fascinating.
Paddy O'callaghan


Reasonable but can't hold a candle to Schaefer's investigation of the man who was not as exclusively sadistic as many believe.
Wesley
very enjoyable. interesting person. interesting relationships. interesting time in history
Sarah Lang
She is an outstanding writer. Erudite, amusing, entertaining and highly educational, all at once!!
Damselindistress
My dear, I am well and truly whacked, and I HATE SUNDAYS. I hate everything.
Lisa Kren
Mar 10, 2009 Lisa Kren is currently reading it
Shelves: classics
I've been reading this book sloooooooooowly. Pretty heavy reading.
Kathleen
To be read in small doses.
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Francine du Plessix Gray, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and literary critic, was born in Warsaw, Poland, where her father, Vicomte Bertrand Jochaud du Plessix, was a French diplomat - the commercial attaché. She spent her early years in Paris, where a milieu of mixed cultures and a multilingual family (French father and Russian émigré mother) influenced her.

Widowed when her father died in bat...more
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